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Fr. David Shoemaker

Here is a story about snow making in the south.  I am Fr. David Shoemaker, I am a catholic priest in the small town of Eufaula, Alabama. I grew up in Ohio and miss the snow and white Christmas of my childhood. So when I came I cross your website last year I was inspired to bring a little snow down south. Around these parts they get a snow about once every ten years, and it usually doesn't last more than an hour or two. Most of the children around here have never seen snow, so as the pastor of Holy Redeemer Church I wanted to make it possible for the children not only to see but play in the snow.

The Monday before Christmas we got the temperatures we needed and with the sg4 kit I bought and built we were making snow. I was more than happy to give up a night of sleep to give this town a white Christmas.  By the time the sun came up that morning I had covered the hill next to the church with beautiful white snow. It did not take long before we had a yard full of Children sledding and throwing snowballs. The local newspaper came and did two stories, the first about the snow making and the second about a young boy who wanted snow for his birthday and got it. Here are also pictures from the event. This has been one of the most talked about things in this town all week long. I even have a new nickname "Father Snowmaker". This has been fantastic. 

 Thanks to you and the cold provided by God we all had a merry and white Christmas in Eufaula Alabama.

Fr. David Shoemaker

Forget dreaming about a White Christmas. Father David Shoemaker at Holy Redeemer Catholic Church made his own snow.

By: Jack Smith - Eufaula Tribune editor 12/21/04

And it wasn't by divine intervention. It was more like human ingenuity.

Father Shoemaker, who has a long beard that could pass for St. Nick's if it weren't dark brown, finally got to test out his homemade snowmaking machine with the frigid weekend weather.

It passed with flying colors. And snowballs.

Children of all ages began showing up on the snow-covered slope at Holy Redeemer as the temperature lingered below 32 degrees Monday morning.

They zipped down the hill on plastic sleds, hurled snowballs at each other and giggled when Father Shoemaker slid down the slope on a water ski.

"We've got a White Christmas going on up here," Shoemaker said as more children arrived and snowball fights broke out. "I just made it for all the kids in Eufaula to use. We don't get too many White Christmases in Eufaula."

Shoemaker learned how to build a snowmaking machine over the Internet. Its basic parts include an air compressor, a pressure washer and some PVC pipe.

The air compressor atomizes the water molecules, which then crystallize, once the temperature and humidity are just right. That happened at about 1:30 a.m. Monday. Father Shoemaker wasn't snoozing despite the late-night hour. He was too excited about the chance to make snow.

"You have to have the temperature and the humidity at a certain point to make snow," he said.

The snowmaking machine performed best between about 1:30 a.m. and 6:30 a.m., when the temperature dipped to 31 degrees and humidity was in the 40s.

Shoemaker built the contraption in the fall.

Like a child waiting for Santa, he's been waiting on Jack Frost.

"I've been waiting to see if it would get cold enough to work," he said. "And it finally did."

A white… birthday

When Hunter Jones heard it might be cold enough to snow on Monday, he told his mom and dad he wanted snow for his birthday, which was Monday. While Mother Nature didn't deliver his birthday wish, Father David Shoemaker, in background, did. Father Shoemaker cranked out enough snow for a memorable morning Monday on the grounds at Holy Redeemer Catholic Church on West Broad Street with his homemade snowmaking machine. Hunter, 6, is the son of Josh and Laura Lee Jones of Eufaula.

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